Connecting Students to Opportunities
The San José Public Library (Library) and San José Public Library Foundation (SJPLF) believe in a future where San José boasts a high rate of postsecondary success for all students. San Jose Aspires is an innovative partnership created between the Library, former Mayor Sam Liccardo, and SJPLF to reduce financial and informational barriers that students in underserved neighborhoods face when making decisions about college and career choices. Through SJ Aspires, we connect students to opportunities to pursue meaningful postsecondary education and offer scholarship dollars for actions aligned with academic success.
At its core, SJ Aspires aims to change students' attitudes and behaviors related to graduating high school, succeeding in post-secondary education, and the Silicon Valley workforce. Students enrolled in a participating school who meet the program criteria (first-generation college students and English language learners) are automatically eligible to participate in the program. SJ Aspires student have the opportunity to earn up to $5,000 in scholarships to support their post-secondary education goals and help defray the financial barriers to college. Since SJ Aspires’ inception in 2018, the program has, to date, served 2,129 high school students who have claimed 7,983 scholarship awards, and earned $661,925 scholar dollars.
Beyond the Pilot Phase
With such a successful pilot phase, the Library and SJPLF sought a qualified partner agency to assume long-term oversight and operations for SJ Aspires including program expansion and financial sustainability. The Library and SJPLF reviewed the qualifications of potential partners and determined that the Boys and Girls Clubs of Silicon Valley (BGCSV), is the ideal organization to continue advancing the impact of SJ Aspires.
The Library and SJPLF will work closely with BGCSV through this transition to ensure that the incredible work that has gone into building this program continues to grow and maximize the potential of students, regardless of their economic status or geographic location.